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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried to look this up, but was unsuccessful. Hope you guys can answer my question.


I carried over a 1st Gen Raptor and a 160GBWD drive into my new build and I have decided to update those as well.


I am replacing them with a OCZ SSD and a 1.5TB WD green .


-My first question is that I initially installed everything with the MB set to IDE and now I am wondering if AHCI is better, specifically for HTPC use?


Looking at the OCZ forums about setup, they mention using AHCI a lot and I was just wondering what, for those of you guys in the know and experience, think about the difference between IDE and AHCI mode.


Again I apologize if this has already been discussed. Linking me the right direction is an acceptable answer
 

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AHCI gives better performance (faster reads/writes), especially if you use the manufacturer specific drivers rather than the inbox Windows drivers.
 

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You did not mention what OS you're using.

Win7 and Ubuntu 9.10 are no problem, but the WinXP setup discs (even SP3) do not have the AHCI driver. So the WinXP Install program will initially report that there are no Hard drives for the install.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_z /forum/post/18207473


You did not mention what OS you're using.

Win7 and Ubuntu 9.10 are no problem, but the WinXP setup discs (even SP3) do not have the AHCI driver. So the WinXP Install program will initially report that there are no Hard drives for the install.

With Windows XP, you can either:
  1. Place the drivers on a floppy and use F6 to load the driver at install time or
  2. Install the AHCI drivers to an existing (or fresh) Windows install in IDE mode and then change the BIOS.

Method 1 is prefered.
 

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You can also integrate the drivers into the Win XP install disc with something like nlite as well.


FWIW, #2 doesn't always work either.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_z /forum/post/18207473


You did not mention what OS you're using.

Win7 and Ubuntu 9.10 are no problem, but the WinXP setup discs (even SP3) do not have the AHCI driver. So the WinXP Install program will initially report that there are no Hard drives for the install.

If you have a gigabyte board there is away around the xp install by enabling the default sata ports as AHCI and leave the gigabyte raid ports set as ide. I would connect my boot hard drive and cd rom to the raid ports and my storage drives to the AHCI ports. Sometimes the drive boot order changes after the AHCI bios settings are saved so it is best to recheck again or the wrong drive will be booted. Once windows xp is installed the AHCI drivers are also installed. I would then install any motherboard drivers and shut down the computer and swap the drives around. I would next go into the bios and set the gigabyte sata ports to AHCI and save. After the reboot I would go back into the bios and check the boot drive settings again .Once Xp is started windows will install the AHCI drivers for the gigabyte raid ports also.


I have no floppy drive so this is the only way I could get it to work or windows xp install will crash on me. The computer is setup for dual boot xp and win 7 64.


I like AHCI enabled because I don't have to leave my external sata Blu-ray drive on all the time. If I want to use it all I have to do is turn it on and windows detects it and it is ready to use, and turn it off when I am done.
 

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If you're running Win 7 I would suggest to ignore vladd's first post about using the manufacturer specific drivers. At this time no manufacturer offers driver with native Win 7 TRIM support for SSD's. Stay with MSAHCI driver for now - it's the only one supporting TRIM at this time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nijel8 /forum/post/18208035


If you're running Win 7 I would suggest to ignore vladd's first post about using the manufacturer specific drivers. At this time no manufacturer offers driver with native Win 7 TRIM support for SSD's. Stay with MSAHCI driver for now - it's the only one supporting TRIM at this time.

Unfortunately, by using the MS drivers, his performance on the 1.5TB will suffer by about 10-30%, so pick your poison. Either way, it still better than IDE mode.
 

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Well, I'm using Intel SSD with 4 Samsung HDD's - 1 F3 500GB and 3x F2 1.5TB, all connected to ICH9R in AHCI, done benchmarks with both MSAHCI and Intel drivers, but never seen 10-30% difference. More like 1-3%.

Even if you are right, what do you prefer - slower system/faster GREEN(slow anyway) storage drive, or faster system/slower storage drive.

Not arguing with you, just making a point.
 

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I can't remember if I've tested an ICH9R but I've tested both the JMB362 and SE9128 recently and the performance difference was much higher than 1-3%. It was about 15-20% (tested using HD Tach and HDTune).


I use faster drives than Green (3 Seagate/Maxtor drives ranging from 120-1000GB and 3 WD 750GB drives) because I can be recording up to 5-7 HD programs at one time plus watching another. That extra performance is on storage drives is needed for me whereas my system drive does not need it as much; the main PVR program I use loads completely into available ram and does very little read/writes to the system drive. If you are just using it for storage and will only be streaming a couple of files at a time, that extra performance is not needed.


So as I said, pick your poison. I should also note though that I am not using an SSD for my system drive. Too little Performance/Space to Price ratio for an HTPC IMO (especially if it's on 24/7 like mine). Gaming is another matter entirely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Get pulled away for the weekend to come back to this is very surprising. I am glad to see so much input. Thanks guys.


To catch up:


I'm running Win 7 64 bit so ahci support isn't a problem.


What IS a problem is a difference between MS and AMD AHCI drivers. Didn't buy an SSD for it not to be fully supported. I hope that the difference in performance for my storage drive is the 10-30% Vladd has mentioned. I am still in the process of swapping them out and will report back my findings.
 

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I know little about the advantages of it, but I will throw my had in the ring to say that for HTPC use, you don't *need* it.


My DVR HDD is an old 320GB HDD (might even still be a PATA) running in a single core A64 3200+ based computer. I have no problems recording 5 HD TV shows while watching at least 2 other ones (possibly 3 but I don't know for sure if that has ever happened.)


It's possible you may need more throughput than that, but I doubt it.


-Suntan
 

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Doesn't hurt to try benchmarking with and without it. I would be interested in knowing your results. nijel8 has me curious now to know if my performance difference may be due to the motherboards that I am using (mostly Gigabyte).


Also, some Gigabyte boards have two different SATA controllers on them so you could run one with the SSD and MS drivers and run the storage drives on the other controller with the manufacturer drivers (if you have a board like that of course).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I will try and get to some benchmarks this weekend, if the girlfriend doesn't suck up my time. I'll list my specs for future reference.


Gigabyte GA-MA785GT-UD3H

Athlon II X4 620

SAPPHIRE 5670

4GB Crucial DDR3 1333

Win7 64 bit

OCZ Agility 60 GB

WD 1.5TB 64MB cache Advanced Format


An suggestions on some good harddrive benching software?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just ran several runs with CrystalDiskMark 2.2 and this is how it broke down.


Microsoft AHCI driver

SSD

Sequential Read : 216.270 MB/s

Sequential Write : 103.366 MB/s

Random Read 512KB : 166.001 MB/s

Random Write 512KB : 105.641 MB/s

Random Read 4KB : 17.842 MB/s

Random Write 4KB : 8.335 MB/s


Test Size : 100 MB

Date : 2010/03/07 14:21:16



WD Green

Sequential Read : 146.426 MB/s

Sequential Write : 100.808 MB/s

Random Read 512KB : 60.223 MB/s

Random Write 512KB : 117.125 MB/s

Random Read 4KB : 0.843 MB/s

Random Write 4KB : 1.372 MB/s


Test Size : 100 MB

Date : 2010/03/07 14:25:18




AMD AHCI driver

SSD

Sequential Read : 212.560 MB/s

Sequential Write : 103.614 MB/s

Random Read 512KB : 165.693 MB/s

Random Write 512KB : 100.269 MB/s

Random Read 4KB : 19.573 MB/s

Random Write 4KB : 8.435 MB/s


Test Size : 100 MB

Date : 2010/03/07 15:00:13



WD Green

Sequential Read : 150.633 MB/s

Sequential Write : 98.907 MB/s

Random Read 512KB : 68.467 MB/s

Random Write 512KB : 122.838 MB/s

Random Read 4KB : 0.871 MB/s

Random Write 4KB : 1.437 MB/s


Test Size : 100 MB

Date : 2010/03/07 15:03:46



I don't really see much of any difference between the two so I will stick with the MS driver so my SSD doesn't degrade. Any questions?
 

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Sorry I didn't respond to your question about the benchmark software (I've been on vacation). Looking at your benchmarks, I see no need for you to use the AMD drivers. You are definitely getting better performance than I do with the MS drivers. I would stick with the MS as you have decided and as nijel8 suggested.


I may have to go back and retest mine. It's possible that I was using an older driver build.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbizzlefosho /forum/post/18206213


Looking at the OCZ forums about setup, they mention using AHCI a lot and I was just wondering what, for those of you guys in the know and experience, think about the difference between IDE and AHCI mode.

For me, the main benefit of using AHCI is I can hot-plug my SATA drives. It is like have 1.5TB floppies!
 
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